Srinagar: Senior politician Muzaffar Hussain Baig, who has been one of the founding members of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), is likely going to join Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference (JKPC) party, sources privy to the development said.
“We have been trying to convince him and he is most likely going to join us soon,” a party-insider told NewsClick wishing anonymity.
The reports of Baig joining the JKPC party were rife earlier in 2018 after the PDP-BJP alliance ended same year two years after the parties ruled the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir in coalition. A gulf between Baig and his party has been apparent since then with several reports also suggesting that a third front led by leaders from North Kashmir was likely to emerge in the region. Baig had quit PDP in November 2020 after reported disagreements on seat-sharing issue during the District Development Council (DDC) polls.
The situation for mainstream parties became difficult as New Delhi revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019. A day earlier, Baig participated in the meeting that became the ground for the formation of People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) – an alliance of mainstream political parties formed to fight the restoration of Article 370.
Baig’s wife Safina, who emerged as a winner in the DDC polls from North Kashmir’s Baramulla district, however, refused to comment on the issue. Safina, who is affiliated with PDP, contested as an independent candidate against her own party and the PAGD alliance. Many claimed her victory was backed by JKPC and also the Altaf Bukhari-led Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party.
The 74-year-old leader has started his political career with JKPC, which is being led by former separatist-turned-minister Sajad Lone. Baig, who was conferred with the third highest civilian award – the Padma Bhushan – last year was one of the few politicians who was not detained ahead of the abrogation move.
A lawyer by profession Baig, who fought for now-banned Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) idelogue Maqbool Bhat’s clemency before he was hanged, is also credited to have played an important role in writing the constitution of JKPC.
Baig’s return to JKPC is seen by party insiders as a major development in the political landscape which will aid the party’s growth in the region.
Pertinently, JKPC’s senior leader Imran Reza Ansari stepped down on Monday from his general secretary’s post.
“As our Party @JKPC_ is growing and lots of leaders have started joining this caravan of change I am requesting my party President @sajadlone to accept my resignation from post of General Secretary effective today,” Ansari tweeted.